Saturday 27 June 2009. This isn’t exactly the world’s newest Boeing 767-300ER, and there’s slightly too much pubic hair in the toilets. Breakfast is being served, and my stupidly-expensive Moleskine notebook is filling up with notes about the Parable of the Quartered Donkey.
That’s quartered as in hanged, drawn and quartered.
I’m the donkey.
The smiling Kenya Airways staff go about their business of bread rolls and bitter coffee en route from Bangkok to Nairobi, where I’ll change for my flight to Dar es Salaam. I wake from a brief period of something vaguely approximating sleep to the realisation that Project TOTO has one significant flaw: multiple goals, with conflicting requirements.
Something deep in my gut says this is going to be a problem.
Flash forward to today. It’s only two weeks since I arrived in Tanzania and a week since I left again, but the world is eager to analyse the project’s “success” or “failure”. We already have Laurel Papworth’s Stilgherrian: Wherefor art thou, bloggers? (which has triggered some excellent discussion) and Fi Bendall’s Sharing the knowledge: How NGOs can benefit from online consumer awareness.
Both articles are well worth reading. Both highlight what I think is a serious problem: short-term thinking.
Continue reading “Breakfast over Mogadishu: fear at (almost) 36,000 feet”
As promised (threatened?), here’s the video evidence from Saturday’s Project TOTO farewell party. I feel… honoured. And only slightly insulted.
Thanks heaps to ’Pong for the video work (although I did the cutaways which allowed him to edit it). Apologies to Mark Pesce, whose to-camera piece wasn’t recorded properly — although we can see him lurking in the background in his lovely red jumper, and raising his eyebrows quizzically.
Also, I am too fat.
It’s D-1. I depart from Sydney airport in just 29.5 hours. I still have a million things to do. I am incredibly stressed. I hope to write more later today. My Twitter stream will reveal more, however.
[Update 28 May 2008: This post began as an announcement of my Project TOTO trip to Tanzania. But a comment by Archie Law triggered a fascinating and wide-ranging discussion about whether topless garden gnome Gnaomi is a harmless presence in my videos or degrading to women. I responded on 27 May in Look, about that damn topless gnomeâ€¦ Do feel free to continue the conversation.]
If you’ve been following my Twitter stream or read a certain recent blog post, you’ll know that a SEKRIT mission was being plotted. Tonight I can reveal… Project TOTO.
Late this afternoon I received my first briefing note, and it’s reproduced in full over the jump. However in summary, it appears that I’m going to Tanzania on behalf of ActionAid Australia (from 1 June, that’s the new name of Austcare) to report on what I see, and to establish a blog outpost in the local community.
Amongst other things, I’ll be posting daily video diaries. Here’s the first.
As you see, I’m only just starting to get my head around this. I’ve never been to Africa, and certainly not to the kinds of places that ActionAid operates. That’s challenging enough — except that I also have to set up a training program for people I’ve never met from a culture I’ve never encountered.
And deliver “media product” from locations where… well, where Internet bandwidth might not be as plentiful as I’m used to.
My head is exploding.
Continue reading “Project TOTO: the #secretmission has begun!”